One of my favorite recreational activities is to surf the web for mission statements. (I lead a very sheltered existence.) I find mission statements to be some of the most stunning examples of inexplicable gibberish imaginable. And I love to try to put myself in the minds of their authors; to imagine myself in the meetings in which the statements are discussed, finalized, and ratified; and to vicariously experience the near-paralytic trepidation of the poor saps who have to publish them.
Here’s one of my new favorites. If you think you know what this statement means, the company it represents, and/or what the company it represents does, do yourself a favor — don’t admit it:
Our mission is to dramatically optimize the quality leadership skills required to continually and completely simplify resource-leveling catalysts for change in the world of tomorrow.
In addition to leading a sheltered existence, I can tend to be a little obtuse. So, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that I’m missing something quite essential here. But that caveat notwithstanding, I can’t help but wonder:
- What quality leadership skills do we suppose the statement refers to? We can be fairly certain clear communication won’t make the list.
- If those quality leadership skills need to be dramatically optimized (and I don’t doubt for a second they do), in what ways are they lacking now?
- What are resource-leveling catalysts? If we’re referring to buildings as resources, nitroglycerine might be the only leveling catalyst required.
- If the mission is to continually and completely simplify those resource-leveling catalysts, won’t they ultimately be indiscernible to the naked eye?
- If resources are leveled, what kinds of change will the catalysts for change provoke? Maybe the change will be a highly buffed finish on the smooth surface of the newly leveled resources.
- What exactly is the world of tomorrow? It seems like a shot in the dark to optimize the quality leadership skills required to continually and completely simplify resource-leveling catalysts for change in a world you don’t know anything about.
At first, I was afraid this was the mission statement of a company hired to blow up portions of Disney theme parks. Right? I mean if Tomorrowland is going be Todayland tomorrow and Yesterdayland the day after that, what’s the point? But then I realized any company capable of publishing a mission statement like that wouldn’t have the quality leadership skills to light a match.
I finally decided most attempts to decipher mission statements are fated to self-destruct.